“Kalamazoo,” now playing at Tipping Point Theatre in Northville, is a disarming comedy that lets us laugh about growing older while addressing the very real hardships and heartaches that come when one spouse from a life-long marriage is suddenly left alone. Peg and Irving are 70-something adults who have this much in common: they both pine for their dear departed spouses, and they both have children who have forced them to “get back out there” via an Internet dating service for seniors.
If you think the plight of star-crossed lovers only applies to teenagers, think again. Irving is a well-traveled, sophisticated, and witty Jewish man who enjoys the Mets and scouring the Atlantic-coast beach with his metal detector in search of treasure. Peg is an Irish Catholic girl for whom the most exotic vacation destination imaginable is the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, “somewhere near Kalamazoo” in Michigan. We learn this in the opening scene, when we watch Peg and Irving record their dating service videos. To Peg, the name “Kalamazoo” just sounds magical, like an incantation. And given what follows, perhaps it is.
They agree to meet for their first date at a Mexican restaurant, which starts out smoothly enough but quickly hits a few wrinkles. Irving is ready to call it off, but with the help of a basketball-sized Margarita and some body-shot chasers, the date gets back on track. Of course, that proves to be a roller coaster track – with all the ups and downs and twisty turns that define the course of true love.
“A whirlwind of laughter, love, and romance is what audience members can expect to see,” says director Christopher Bremer. “It is one of the sweetest, funniest plays to come up in recent years.”
“Kalamazoo” is the work of playwrights Michelle Kholos Brooks and Kelly Younger. Ms. Brooks knows something about relationships between funny Jewish men and lovely Irish women—she is the daughter-in-law of Mel Brooks and the late Anne Bancroft. Perhaps that’s why the banter in this play is both hilarious and startlingly honest. It just rings true in ways that can be surprising and shocking, but always satisfying.
Of course, as good as the script is, what makes Tipping Point Theatre’s production of “Kalamazoo” such a joy to watch is the perfect performances by the amazing acting duo of Arthur J. Beer (Irving) and Mary F. Bremer-Beer (Peg), who are real-life husband and wife. Their simplest gestures and tiniest jests speak volumes about the romance that is blooming between these seemingly mismatched seniors. The story may be fiction, but the chemistry between these two stage veterans is delightfully real. Their performance is priceless.
Director Christopher Bremer is supported by a production crew that includes: Resident Stage Manager, Tracy L. Spada; Scenic Designer, Lisa Charlotte Berg; Lighting Designer, Rachael Nardecchia; Costume Designer, Suzanne Young; Properties Designer, Diane E. Ulseth; and Sound Designer, Julia Garlotte.
“Kalamazoo” runs through December 20, 2015, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and matinees at 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. A special matinee performance has been added on Wednesday, December 9, at 3 p.m. “Kalamazoo” is a co-production with the Jewish Ensemble Theatre (JET). Tickets are $30 to $33 for adults, $28 to $31 for students and senior citizens; tickets are selling fast, so reserve yours today by calling the box office at (248) 347-0003. The Tipping Point Theatre is located at 361. E. Cady St. in the lovely town of Northville. By the way, if you miss this run, you have a final chance to catch TPT’s special New Year’s Eve reprise performance of “Kalamazoo.” This includes the show and an afterglow provided by Rocky’s of Northville. Tickets for the New Year’s event are $85 ($40 Tax Deductible) and $45 for SeasonPASS Ticket holders ($40 Tax Deductible).